iPaaS, or Integration-Platform-as-a-Service, is a self-service cloud-based solution that standardizes how applications are integrated. Business technologists, citizen and professional developers, integration specialists and consultants can all use iPaaS solutions out-of-the-box to quickly build the integration flows for sharing data within an organization or with multiple companies.
With iPaaS solutions, organizations can connect different applications, data, business processes, and services, whether they are hosted on-premises, in a private cloud, or within a public cloud environment. iPaaS also gives DevOps, IT and business teams a way to build integrations quickly and enable real-time updates throughout the organization's application estate and ecosystem.
iPaaS is also referred to as cloud integration or cloud-based integration.
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Enterprise integration has traditionally been a challenge for IT departments.
In the past, companies integrated their business processes through custom programming, enterprise middleware or enterprise application integration (EAI) implementations, such as service-oriented architecture (SOA). These integration solutions worked but were expensive and time consuming to create. They also left companies susceptible to data silos, due to lack of data exchange, so that one part of the organization did not have visibility into another, creating inefficiencies when data needed to be shared.
To remain competitive, as well as to respond and adapt to market changes quickly, oorganizations have accelerated their adoption of digital technologies, including SaaS applications, and cloud services. This rapid adoption has led to the proliferation of applications across the organization both on-premises and on multiple clouds. With the vast number of applications, including SaaS applications and cloud applications, being integrated within a single organization today, it has become unwieldy for IT departments to build custom integrations.
In addition, the expansion of network services, edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) has created further demand for rapid integration with a wide range of products. Companies today must be able to rapidly integrate applications and services that live on-premises, in private clouds, at the edge, and in multiple vendors’ public clouds.
iPaaS provides a single solution and a consistent process for data exchange and data integration between all the applications in your enterprise, whether they’re on-premises or in the cloud.
The platform is hosted and managed by your cloud provider and offered as a service—you simply subscribe to the platform, choose the tools and services you need to configure and automate integration between applications, and get to work. The cloud provider handles the rest, including data governance, security, software patches, hardware maintenance, and new feature updates whenever they become available.
When compared to traditional integration methods, iPaaS solutions deliver the following benefits:
Simplified and improved B2B integration: Every business has its own process for exchanging information with partners. Different applications used at different companies make it difficult to communicate. Businesses can use iPaaS to improve B2B integration and ultimately increase revenue and improve time to market.
Companies are turning to iPaaS to more easily manage applications and data, quickly integrate legacy systems, and solve complex integration problems as they modernize applications. The versatility is attractive across the organization, common use cases of iPaaS solutions include:
HR: Optimize hiring process; employee onboarding; and payroll and benefits.
Marketing: Accelerate data enrichment and intent-based campaigns; and account-based marketing orchestration.
Finance: Integrate core banking services; financial planning and billing.
Sales: Manage opportunity management; lead routing; SLAs; and metrics and forecasting.
IT: Automate ticket escalation and management; helpdesk management; and threat management.
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Middleware speeds development of distributed applications by simplifying connectivity between applications, application components and back-end data sources.
APIs simplify software development and innovation by enabling applications to exchange data and functionality easily and securely.
IBM App Connect is an industry-leading application integration platform that connects any of your applications and data no matter where they reside. With hundreds of prebuilt connectors and customizable templates, organizations can rapidly connect applications and build integration flows. IBM App Connect can be deployed on-premises and on any cloud or as a highly scalable, fully managed Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) on Amazon Web Services (AWS).